In a relief to those planning to travel abroad, the health ministry has reduced the time period for receiving the third dose of the Covid vaccine to three months from nine months earlier. All the provisions have been done on the Co-WIN platform — the web portal for vaccine registration – to enable this facility, says the letter by Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, health ministry, to all states and UTs.

The letter says early administration of the precaution dose has been approved after several requests for the early administration of the precaution dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as many countries have made it mandatory.

"To facilitate international travel for such genuine reasons, the necessary provision of early administration of precaution dose for those travellers undertaking international travel has been done on Co-WIN under National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme," the letter says.

Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya also tweeted that Indian citizens and students travelling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country. “This new facility will be available soon on the Co-WIN portal,” he adds.

The facility is for people, who have taken two doses of the Covid vaccine and are required to undertake international travel. The reasons for international travel could be educational, employment opportunities, participation in sports tournaments in foreign countries, participation in bilateral, and multilateral meetings as part of India's official delegation, and business commitments in foreign countries.

"The utility is to be used by such beneficiaries who have taken two doses of Covid vaccine through Co-WIN and are required to undertake international travel," the letter adds.

All CVCs (Covid vaccination centres) in states where precaution dose is being administered are eligible to administer the precaution dose with reduced interval, which is less than nine months to minimum 3 months, the ministry clarified.

People also don't need to upload any documents on Co-WIN like visas, travel documents, etc. So far, based on the recommendations of the domain subject experts, only people vaccinated with two doses and those who have completed nine months after the second, are eligible for the precaution dose.

Health and frontline workers, people 60 years of age and above are eligible for the precaution dose at any government or private hospital. Citizens aged 18 years or more but less than 60 are also eligible for the precaution dose but only at private CVCs on a payment basis. They can also avail the facility at government CVCs in selected states, based on their notifications.

The central government had last month allowed the precautionary or booster Covid-19 dose for all above 18 years of age across private vaccination centres of the country. However, the provision mandated only those above 18 years of age, and those who have completed 9 months after taking the second Covid-19 dose, to take the booster shot.

As per the latest data, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 190.99 cr in 2,38,51,277 sessions. COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 12-14 years was started on March 16, 2022. So far, more than 3.12 cr adolescents have been administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Similarly, the COVID-19 precaution dose for the age group 18-59 years started on April 10, and 3.03 crore doses have been administered so far.

India recorded 2,841 new Covid cases and nine fatalities in the past 24 hours. The active caseload currently stands at 18,604, which is 0.04% of the total positive cases.

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